This literature review, therefore, will be a brief and separate treatment of both trust and transcendence. The available literature on trust is vast, and far beyond this review. I have limited my reading and review to contemporary theorists and researchers. Whole areas of trust literature needed to be winnowed out. Also, I will not address legal trusts, i. The business trust literature and research include brand loyalty, trust in online security, trust in ATM machines, market relationships, and customer trust in the salesperson.
The reason trust is requested is because the person being asked to trust is the key to sales and profits. Organizational trust research and theory lies within the management realm, and is not covered in this review. Much has been written on how governments want the governed to trust them. The contemporary crisis in public trust began in my lifetime with the Vietnam War and continued its plunge with the Watergate crisis.
The Pew Research Center for People and the Press reports that Americans trust their government less in than at any time since the Kennedy-Johnson administration. Government concern includes trust in government, voter machines, individual public servants, and the democratic process itself. This literature review will cover definitions of trust, as well as philosophical, psychological and moral theories of trust, and will also provide brief attention to transcendence. In each trust relationship, there is another indispensable issue, and that will be named Something C.
Truster A does not trust Trusted B in a wide-open sense; there will always be a third predicate, that which Trusted B is entrusted with, something that matters to Truster A. Something C could be a physical item taking care of the home while the owners are away, the antique furniture piece entrusted to the refinisher , a living being the youngster delivered to a childcare facility, entrusted for the day, the pets entrusted to the pet sitter , an action delivery of the newspaper to subscribers each day , or an inaction the ability to refrain from judgment or advice entrusted to a mediator.
There is wide agreement in the literature that trust is not an open-ended act; it is confined with particularity: Person A trusts Person B to do something C. Hardin, Baier, Mollering Baier further notes the discretionary powers inherent in a trust relationship. This paper and review will address relational trust, between one person and another person, as regards a particular matter. So, trust resides in the present moment for Truster A, but involves the future actions of the trusted person, Trusted B. The ultimate point of what we are doing when we trust may be the last thing we come to realize.
Encapsulated Trust Russell Hardin, Ph. Risk and Uncertainty Trusting someone would seem to involve some risk, but Hardin disagrees. Hardin believes that trust itself involves no risk; it is only the acting on the trust that involves the risk. The action is separate from the trust itself. According to Hardin, one does not choose trust; trust is a rational process, and one either trusts someone else or they do not. Hardin places trust in the category of knowledge. Commonplace claims that one chooses to trust entail mistaken implications that trusting is a matter of acting. Held , 65 also says that one may be obligated to trust.
All of this is wrong. I just do or do not trust to some degree, depending on the evidence I have. I do not, in an immediate instance, choose to trust, I do not take any risk in trusting. First, because he is such an important academic source on the topic. Second, because my own work on trust insists that trust is a choice, and so many other authors seem to agree. The evidence might compel us or it might not, but we do not choose the degree to which it does compel us. Mollering finds the ambivalence of trust to be the most interesting feature: Actors trust despite their vulnerability and uncertainty, although they cannot be absolutely sure what will happen.
They act as if the situation they face was unproblematic and, although they recognize their own limitations, they trust nevertheless. Mollering identifies three arenas in which trust finds itself: His theory is that all matters of trust can be categorized within these three realms.
Trust is present when rationality chooses it over distrust, based on the facts one can process cognitively. Their trust might have been betrayed by that person, but in their continuing relationship, it is often beneficial to choose to trust them again in the specific aspect of raising the child. The Three Trusts I found two separate references to the three trusts: According to the researchers, trust increased the self- esteem of the survivors and improved their relationships with family and friends. The greatest benefit was a decrease in fear and an increase in sense of security, which in turn helped the subjects reach safety.
Trusting, we let ourselves go.
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We know we cannot have total control. Perhaps for a moment we panic, then the tension dissipates and we are free. This trust in the life process is a choice he recommends in order to recover from betrayal in an intimate relationship, in order to move forward and be able to trust others again. Trust extends to three vital areas of our existence: Trusting ourselves means that we are confident in being ourselves and affirming ourselves, as well as confident in our capacity to deal with conflicts and setbacks.
Trusting others means that we feel safe and relaxed in their presence; we can be authentic and open without undue fear of negative consequences. Trusting life means having faith that we can learn from our experiences, and that, in some mysterious way, life supports our movement towards wholeness and self-actualization though not always without struggle. The One Thing That Changes Everything, recognizes the first trust as self trust, and the second trust as relationship trust, but includes third, fourth and fifth trusts in the stakeholder realms organizational, market and societal.
Self-trust remains a critical foundation for building the integrity one needs to live in trust. The relational trust section of the book addresses behaviors: Trusting Oneself Hardin addresses trusting oneself by recommending a question in three parts, which will help one to know oneself.
Interestingly, it is the same question, but with emphasis on different words each time the question is asked: What can I depend on myself to do? And finally, What can I depend on myself to do? If this question can be answered in all three parts, Hardin suggests, you will know whether or not you will be able to depend on yourself in that instance.
Jones distinguishes between cognitive trust and affective, or emotional, trust, the second of which I liken to the realm of choosing trust. Hardin would have us believe trust is a completely cognitive and rational matter. We see evidence of trustworthiness or not; we either trust or we do not. Hardin cringes at the number of times people writing about trust are actually writing about trustworthiness.
This is a good point he makes, indicating that it is Trusted B who fails, not Truster A. Hardin holds no truck with those this writer included who believe in the benefits of trusting, even sometimes in spite of evidence to the contrary. Ferrucci cites a study finding: The low trusters do not trust others because they do not have this capacity, and play it safe by saying no to everyone.
Their social life is poorer. Obviously, a certain degree of suspicion is healthy and wise. But when it forms part of our character, becomes our worldview and turns into muscular tension, then it becomes a hindrance. The question for future research might be how to impart that intelligence to the low trusters, in order that they also may enjoy the benefits of trusting others.
Baier views trusting God as similar to an infant trusting its parents. Pawar, however, insists that religious trust must be understood within the religious context and religious life, or it cannot be understood properly.
She recognizes the complexity of the choice to believe. What a believer strives for is a trust that is fully aware of both the religious conceptualization and the worldly conceptualization of the issue at hand. The believer knows everything the unbeliever knows, and still he believes.
Far from being a reaction to the facts life presents one with, religious belief is a fundamental attitude towards life itself. Transcendence Rather than a literature review on transcendence, I offer an exquisite description of a moment of transcendence. The challenge with transcendence is that it is so difficult to reduce to words. The experience is beyond the reduction necessary to describe. It was in the early spring, at the beginning of his thirty-sixth year.
He and two friends had spent the evening reading Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, and especially Whitman. They parted at midnight, and he had a long drive in a hansom it was in an English city. His mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images and emotions called up by the reading and talk of the evening, was calm and peaceful. He was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment.
All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a flame-colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next, he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Among other things he did not come to believe, he saw and knew that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain.
He claims that he learned more within the few seconds during which the illumination lasted than in previous months or even years of study, and that he learned much that no study could ever have taught. Is trust a necessary prerequisite for transcendence? Can one choose trust as a process for opening up to new transcendent experiences? I chose participants that fell into two groups: The eight-week project included many optional exercises as well, which were designed to create sacred space for meditative self-reflection and transcendent experience.
For this project, I wanted to explore whether the Third Trust, trusting God, standing firmly on a foundation of the first two trusts, could be utilized to increase transcendence experiences. The project was designed to spend the first two weeks focusing on Trusting Self, the third and fourth week focusing on Trusting Others, and the final four weeks exploring Trusting the Divine. Transpersonal Research Methodology I chose Integral Inquiry as the primary methodology for the Trust and Transcendence Project because I wanted to combine both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and results.
Integral inquiry as a transpersonal research method was developed by William Braud of the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology I wanted to offer the participants many complementary avenues for self-exploration and discovery. To provide quantitative data regarding the relationship between trust and transcendence, the participants filled out three separate survey questionnaires. While each questionnaire was different, capturing demographics and textual responses to many distinct questions, the center and bulk of each questionnaire asked the same questions, in order that the responses could be compared across the 8-week experience.
The first questionnaire provided the baseline, the 2nd questionnaire was completed during the mid-point of the project, and the final, 3rd questionnaire provided the final datapoint. See Appendix C for the three complete questionnaires. In addition, several other distribution points were achieved when my Call for Research Participants e-mail was forwarded on to other distribution lists. When a potential co-researcher replied with interest in the project, I e-mailed to them additional information, with enough detail to indicate that it was a significant time commitment Appendix D.
Twenty-five people started the project 24 women, and one man , and fifteen women completed all required elements. The quantitative results are not statistically significant. In the first place, the number of participants is too small to provide statistically significant results. The quantitative results provide some interesting findings, but the main value of this project lies in the qualitative findings.
Table 1 summarizes the timing of activities during the eight-week project. All instructions and questionnaires were distributed via e-mail. Participants wrote and shared their mini-autobiographies either in e-mail format or in a Word document attached to an e-mail back to me. Textual themes emerged from the three questionnaires, the autobiographies, and the internet forum. Additional themes emerged from the conference calls and the personal interviews. Timing of Activities for 8-week Project Week 1 — Sat.
Other Internet resources also included a webpage with all relevant documents, an archive of e-mails related to the project, a link to a Google calendar with the timing of all Trust and Transcendence project activities, and a forum set up specifically for participants.
This webpage has been archived at: Communicating solely through the Internet can be incomplete and leave one feeling disconnected. To complement the distance technology, several complementary methods of communication and connection were offered: Questionnaires Three questionnaires were designed to be completed at the beginning of the project, at mid-point, and then a final questionnaire at the end. Each questionnaire repeated the same central section, with numerical or coded responses. In addition, each of the three questionnaires captured different demographic information, and each contained qualitative questions to be answered textually.
The complete questionnaires can be found in Appendix C. The autobiography exercise was designed to allow participants to reflect on significant life events that had impacted their experience of trust, as well as create a catalog of sorts of transcendent events in their lives. I offered a brief outline of some of my own events, as an example for them to follow.
In an e-mail sent to participants on Aug 3rd, I offered the detailed instructions for completing the autobiography, using my own experiences that had affected my ability to trust or not, and examples of transcendent experiences. The examples I offered ranged from womb trauma I suffered when my mother took amphetamines while she was pregnant with me, to a transcendent moment I experienced when I was 10 years old at the ARE camp in Virginia.
The vulnerability I offered in my examples helped the co-researchers to be vulnerable as well, and detailed and thorough, in their autobiographies. In this way, I hoped to establish a correlation between trust and transcendence over the two month time period. As each co-researcher learned more about trust, would her beliefs change? Would she experience more transcendence in her life?
In each e-mail I sent to participants, I included cognitive concepts regarding trust. Trusting oneself means coming to know oneself, and remaining true to oneself. The second week, I included. These documents are still available through the archived Trust and Transcendence website: Each conference call took on a life of its own, depending on which participants called in that particular day.
Topics ranged from cognitive, to recounting the experiential exercises, how to meditate, and included very personal discussions brought up by working on the autobiographies. The forum established in the project was used for the first couple of weeks, and included some very deep thinking and responses on matters of trust and transcendence. Although it was not used extensively throughout the whole project, participants found it a valuable resource for sharing cognitive concepts. Meditation A daily practice of meditation was a required component of the Trust and Transcendence project.
The discipline provides the time for transcendence, although a transcendent experience can never be guaranteed. A twice-daily practice was suggested, at least 15 minutes each time; at least once a day was considered a foundation. Many e-mails to participants included instruction and reflection on meditation, my own practice and others.
Group meditations were scheduled each week; co-researchers in the Denver metro area were invited to join me in my home for this meditation. Those participants outside the Denver metro area were invited to join at the same time; I believe this magnified the vibrational energy of the meditation even if the meditators were not in the same room. Journaling I asked the participants to keep a journal for the duration of the project. I wanted them to be able to write down the details of issues of trust and experiences of transcendence as they happened, including questions about the experience.
The experiences of life can be so ephemeral, like the elusive memories of dream that disappear with each waking moment. Journaling can help one return to unanswered questions, and offer the opportunity to see an experience through fresh eyes. In the middle of the project, I suggested that the participants could share their journals with me, to become part of the materials I would analyze. Not everyone kept a daily journal of the trust and transcendence experience, and of those who did, not all of them shared the complete journals with me.
Non-verbal and Creative Expression Four specific experiential exercises were offered to complement the daily meditation practice and the cognitive study of trust and transcendence, with one week devoted to each. The dreamwork was offered as an opportunity for the participants to access non- cognitive, imaginative and mysterious guidance and imagery. I offered suggestions and techniques for simply remembering and writing down their dreams, and suggested that they need not expect to understand the dreams right away.
In an August 6th e-mail, I suggested to the participants: Mandalas Creating sacred art through the mystery of the mandala is a time-honored practice, and is another opportunity to use right-brain intuition and awareness for creative expression. Participants were encouraged to create sacred space in order to create sacred art. The goal was that they would take time and use whatever art materials they wanted, along with a mandala template, to enjoy a contemplative creation. Reed and Cornell were the main sources I drew upon while designing the mandala exercise. The labyrinth is not a maze, but it is a walking meditation path, with one way into the center, and one way back out again.
I suggested it to research participants, in order that they could experience for themselves the walk into their own center, the walk to meet themselves. What can often happen in a labyrinth walk is that you lose your sense of place, because the path curves around and back on itself, again and again. Sometimes one can be walking the labyrinth, and find oneself very close to the center, able to see the center quite clearly, yet the path goes on and on, away, moving back out towards the outer rim.
Finding the center can be sudden, bringing immense relief. The walk back out is often slower, more peaceful. The center has been found and confirmed. Co-researchers were encouraged to find a labyrinth in their immediate area to walk during the sixth week of the project. If they were unable to find a labyrinth to walk, a paper labyrinth was provided.
Meeting a Spiritual Benefactor at a Sacred Sanctuary. Here are the instructions given in a September 7th e-mail: Henry Reed, and I was able to participate in it last year at one of my Atlantic University courses held in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. This particular exercise was deeply meaningful to me, and I hope it will be to some of you.
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You will need to find a partner; this cannot be done on the phone. When you have found a partner to help you with this, and scheduled the time, let me know, and I will send you the script you will be using. You will need to plan for at least two hours, in a private place where you will be uninterrupted. You will prepare three written questions for your spiritual benefactor to answer, and you will give these three questions to your partner. You will then lie down on a couch, most likely , and your partner will read the script to you, bringing you into a relaxed state, and helping you to go within, to your own spiritual advisor, to discover the answer to these questions.
You will be given a special gift during this journey. I expect you will find it a very valuable exercise. Personal Interviews Once each co-researcher had completed her autobiography and the 2nd questionnaire, we scheduled a personal phone interview. I did not have a standard format or structure for conducting the interviews which were recorded, but not completely transcribed.
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In the hour prior to each phone interview, I would meditate, then read the two questionnaires and the autobiography, making notes on points of interest. Each personal phone interview began with a brief meditation. The participants had been instructed to be in a private, quiet space for the interview. Some participants had rich experience with meditation, and some had none. I would suggest to those with a mediation practice to use these few minutes to practice in their own tradition. For those participants who did not have much practice in meditation, I would provide a brief instruction, including the following: To ground each of us into the interview, I would end each meditation period with a statement such as: The Dance The design of the project, of the questionnaires, the open call for co-researchers, the implementation of each particular aspect of the project, felt like an elaborate and Divinely choreographed dance.
This dance included us all: Palmer speaks of this dance: Each point of contact with co-researchers and each bit of information and participation from them were viewed regarding the overall relationship between trust and transcendence. Pseudonyms are used for all participants. Data was collected in three questionnaires; each questionnaire was divided into three sections.
The second section remained the same for all three questionnaires; it contained the same statements and response keys regarding Trust and Transcendence. These quantitative responses could then be compared over the span of the project. These final section questions asked for qualitative, textual responses. See Appendix C for the full text of all three questionnaires. Data analysis from the questionnaires started with the demographics first, then quantitative findings. Analysis progressed with the qualitative questionnaire data, then the qualitative material gathered from the other aspects of the project.
The fourth and fifth sections will cover the findings regarding Trust and Transcendence, respectively. Participant Characteristics As indicated in Table 2, the ages of the 15 women who completed the Trust and Transcendence project ranged from 38 to Two women of Asian descent and one Hispanic woman participated. The New Thought churches seem distinct enough from traditional Protestantism to warrant a separate category.
Four primary themes emerged from the responses: See Table 7 for examples and illustrations of the four themes. What do you hope to gain from your participation? I hope to learn some 4 responses, techniques for going deeper and being able to trust more. This section will present findings specific to the six divorced parents. Divorced parents were asked the same series of three questions regarding how they co- parented with the other parent of their children.
As indicated in Table 8, change over the three questionnaires was minimal regarding the effectiveness of co-parenting. Change over time, however, trended towards amicability and trust for the 2nd and 3rd questions, respectively. In the second questionnaire, the divorced parent participants were asked whether they had come to see their relationship with the co-parent in a different light.
As indicated in Table 9, two parents had come to see the relationship in a better light. The others saw no change in the relationship for different reasons. Of the four who had contact with the other parent during the project, communication improved for one parent, was the same for one parent, and fluctuated for the two others, as indicated in Table Please rate on which end of the scale you consider the effectiveness of your co-parenting: Please answer this question by indicating on which end of the scale you would rate the conflict in your divorce: Please answer this question by indicating on which end of the scale you would rate your trust in the other parent: I am gentler with myself and with him.
This is very different from when we were married. Change in communication with co-parent If you had contact with the other parent since the beginning of this project, has the communication with the other parent been: I was warned by many to not do it, but to wait until I finished raising him. I believe he has benefited tremendously by my choice to do it. In Questionnaire 2, four women answered yes; in response to the same question in Questionnaire 3, six women answered yes.
Themes of clarity, strength and self-acceptance emerged from the accompanying commentary, as indicated in Table It was the reason for my searching and yearning to learn and grow spiritually. For some participants, their ability to trust themselves gave them the ability to trust their scandalous nature; for others, distrust that others would accept them meant that they hide their scandalous nature.
I mean, I take risks, go against what is expected of me, in order to be true to myself. Relationship between Scandalous Nature and Trust What is the relationship, in your life, between your scandalous nature, and your levels of trust or distrust? I do trust that I am the person I am supposed to be, and will grow in the ways that will ultimately be best for me.
They deepen each other. The more I trust, the more scandalously I am able to live, and the more scandalously I live, the more I learn to trust. When I distrust, I limit myself and my life, and it feels frustrating and disappointing. When I trust, I open myself up to all kind of amazing possibilities in life, and it feels wonderful and scary at the same time. It seems as though my subconscious actions have been to betray some of the people I do trust before they do the same to me. I wear a mask of conformity when I'm out in public or working.
Table 14 provides thematic responses to this question. Relationship between Scandalous Nature and Transcendence What is the relationship between your scandalous nature, and your transcendent experiences, if any? To weave a tapestry, the artist must have all the right textures and colors of thread to complete the project — I believe that the Creator started the project of who I am becoming with all the necessary parts that reveal themselves as the tapestry grows through life.
Trust The second section of each of the three questionnaires contained 26 statements related to Trust. For the second and third questionnaires, co-researchers were asked not to refer to their answers from the prior questionnaires, but to come to the questionnaires fresh.
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Table 15 lists the 26 questions asked in each of the three questionnaires, along with commentary about the findings. By asking the same questions in each of the three questionnaires, I was able to capture and analyze a time-series change, both aggregated for all participants, and analyze the change over time for individual participants as well. The commentary in this chapter, following each individual question or statement, will address averages rather than individual changes over time. Quantitative Questions regarding Trust Trust 1. Please answer this question by indicating on which end of the scale you would describe yourself.
Trusting 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Untrusting Average responses for these questionnaires indicated more trusting Q1: Between Q1 and Q3, three participants moved to slightly less trusting, seven moved towards more trusting. Yes or No responses Trust 2. Were you generally trusted by your parents as a child? Only four participants changed their response to this question over time. Have you ever trusted someone, in spite of evidence to the contrary? Three went back and forth. The following key was used for answering the following questions: I always agree with the statement 2. I sometimes agree with the statement 3.
I sometimes disagree with the statement 5. I always disagree with the statement Trust 5. I am generally a trusting person.
Averages for the three questionnaires: The averages tended slightly towards being more trusting. I generally trust myself. The average moves slightly away from self-trust, however. I generally trust life itself. Slight movement towards trusting life. I trust in God. General trust in God. Ten participants changed their responses over time. I trust that things happen for a reason.
Nine participants were unchanged over time. Trended slightly towards more trusting. I am able to choose trust. I am able to trust a person who has hurt me. Neutral start, with trend moving slightly towards being able to trust. I can protect myself. Eight respondents changed in both directions.
I know how to maintain good personal boundaries. Only four stayed the same over time. Average wavered towards more maintenance of personal boundaries, then trended slightly back. General agreement with statement. Slight trend towards more trust of understanding. I can accept circumstances without understanding them. There was a lot of movement in the responses; only five remained unchanged over time. No trend; wavered in second questionnaire, but then back to a solid 2. Slight trend away from trusting the whole person. When I trust a person, I feel out of control.
Slight disagreement with this statement. Besides the slight disagreement, there was a slight trend towards more disagreement. I have a wide circle of friends. There was general agreement with this statement. Over all three questionnaires, there was a slight trend towards less agreement. I trust my family.
Responses trended towards more trusting of family. I can trust my thinking. Interestingly, responses trended slightly away from self-trust. It is difficult for me to change. There was a lot of change in responses to this statement about change. The trend was slightly towards disagreement. Of the other 13 co-researchers, change was all across the board. I can forgive others. Most respondents agreed with this statement. Slight movement away from forgiving others. I can forgive myself. Trending slightly towards more forgiveness of self. I can make a choice to trust someone else.
Seven respondents stayed the same over time. Very slight trend away from agreement. I have made a conscious choice to trust someone else. Slight trend towards agreement.
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I take good care of myself. Lots of movement over time from ten of the participants. Slight trend away from good self-care. Table 16 lists the 16 questions asked regarding transcendence in each of the three questionnaires, along with brief commentary about the findings. Have you ever had a transcendent experience? Have you had a second transcendent experience? Have you had more than two transcendent experiences? Most participants had more than two transcendent experiences. If you could estimate the number, how many transcendent experiences have you had?
I always disagree with the statement Transcendence 5. I believe there is more to life than the physical realm. Most agreed with this statement, although the response trended very slightly away from agreement. Most agreed with this statement, and although there was some movement, the average ended where it began. Coincidences can be more than they appear. Most agreed with this statement.
While there was some movement, it was slight. I live in fear a lot. I live in grace a lot. Participants generally agreed with this statement. Although the averages remained exactly the same for each of the three questionnaires 1. More than half of the respondents changed their response throughout the three questionnaires.
I like my life. Six of the participants changed their responses over time. The averages showed slight movement away from agreement with this statement. I feel well taken care of by the universe. Responses showed general agreement with this statement. Eight women changed their responses over time, wavering. The averages showed slight movement away from agreement.
I have many regrets. General disagreement with this statement; eight participants changed their responses over time, with a trend towards disagreement. General agreement with this statement, although the averages showed slight movement towards disagreement. Six women changed their responses over time. These findings will be explored further in the Discussion chapter.
The Discussion chapter will also cover some additional questions in the three questionnaires, as well as the input from the other components of the project autobiographies, cognitive study, meditation, and non- verbal and creative expressions. The first section addresses the purpose of studying trust and transcendence together. The second section discusses the different components of the project, especially the integrative and spiritual aspects of participation.
The third section highlights personal journeys taken by different co-researchers. As you allow yourself to mourn your lost relationship and move toward healing, the periods of hopelessness will be replaced by periods of hopefulness. Lingering attachment Many divorced people experience lingering attachment to their former spouses.
It is not always so easy, even when 53 The Wilderness of Divorce there is good reason for a relationship to end, to simply make a clean break. For some people, feelings of lingering attachment prevent them from getting on with life and developing a new selfidentity. There are times when close proximity or shared custody of children make this experience even more naturally complicated.
If you feel a lingering attachment, it may be difficult for a while, but these feelings will ease as you do the work of mourning your lost relationship. Rethinking and retelling the story Often when a relationship ends, you need to think and talk about your marriage and the circumstances of the divorce.
You may replay these memories over and over in your mind and question your sanity. You may also feel the need—almost a compulsion—to tell other people about these prominent memories again and again. Self-focus Especially early in your divorce experience, you may find yourself being less conscious of the needs of others. You may not have the energy for all the needs of your children or family.
What is does mean is that you have emotional needs demanding your attention right now. They are a necessary part of your grief work. I feel so completely helpless. Could the divorce have been prevented? Could you have tried harder to make it work? By acknowledging and allowing for temporary feelings of helplessness, you actually help yourself.
Some people call them grief attacks, because they seem to attack you without warning. You might think that long periods of deep sadness characterize the typical divorce journey. When and if one strikes you, be compassionate with yourself. You have every right to feel temporary paralysis or loss of control. Crying and sobbing Sobbing is an expression of the deep, strong emotions within you. These emotions need to get out, and sobbing allows for their release.
Cry, wail, and sob as long and as hard and as often as you need to. Tears have a voice of their own. You will be wise to allow yours to speak to you. These objects can naturally trigger all sorts of feelings, from sadness to resentment to intense anger. When this happens, you may feel a little out of control.
Again, remember, you are not crazy, you are human, and you are allowing yourself to feel. Consider boxing up these items up and storing them away for a while. As time passes and you do your work of mourning, it can be helpful to go through these linking objects. Eventually, you will probably discover that they have less control over you and that you can make better decisions about what to do with them. Dreams and nightmares Sometimes, the process of disengaging from your spouse physically is far easier than getting him or her out of your head.
Dreaming a lot about your former spouse may contribute to your feelings of going crazy. You may dream of being back together and then separating again. You may replay the end of the relationship in your dreams. You may dream of being intimate with this person again. If dreams are part of your experience, make use of them to better understand where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. Anniversary and holiday occasions Naturally, anniversary and holiday occasions can bring back memories of precious times, some happy, some sad.
Recognize you need support and map out how to get it. You are experiencing a major life transition that requires that you confront many new changes and challenges. And remember, you will eventually get where you need to go. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started. Your wilderness is an undiscovered wilderness and you are its first explorer.
But those of us who have experienced divorce have found that our paths have many similarities. In fact, there are more commonalities than there are differences. When we experience divorce transition, we do have similar needs. Instead of referring to stages, I say that we have six central needs of divorce transition. You will probably jump around in random fashion while working on them. You will address each need when you are ready to do so. Sometimes you will be working on more than one need at a time. Acknowledge the reality of the divorce You can know something in your head but not in your heart.
Your emotional divorce is not the same as your legal divorce, and these often do not unfold at the same time or pace. Whether the divorce was sudden and traumatic, or gradual and anticipated, acknowledging the full reality of 63 The Wilderness of Divorce the divorce may occur over weeks and months. Embracing your new reality is usually not quick, easy or efficient. Yet, it must be done so you can eventually move forward with your new life, free of the ties that bind you.
One moment the reality of the divorce may be unbearable; another moment it may be welcomed. At yet another moment, it may feel tolerable. It is easier to avoid, repress or deny the pain that accompanies this major life transition, yet it is in confronting our pain that we learn to reconcile ourselves to it. You will probably discover that you need to dose yourself in embracing your painful symptoms that come with the journey. In other words, you cannot nor should you try 64 Touchstone Six - Understand the Six Needs of Divorce Transition to overload yourself with hurt all the time. As you encounter your pain, you will also need to continue to nurture yourself physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially, and spiritually.
Eat well, rest often, and exercise regularly. Find others with whom you can share your painful thoughts and feelings; friends who listen without judging are your most important helpers as you work on this important need. Shift your relationship with your former spouse This need of divorce transition involves disengaging from your prior relationship with your former life partner. As hard as it might be, you will have to stop interacting in old ways and work to create mutually acceptable new ways of communicating. While all of the following actions may or may not help you in your unique situation, some can probably be of help in redefining your relationship: For example, limit your contact with each other to required issues only, such as children.
Arrange a schedule that details when the children will be with each of you. Do not offer up personal information and do not ask any of him or her. You are creating new boundaries. Telling people helps you shift the relationship and remind yourself that you have started a new and changed life.
Develop a new self-identity When you go through a divorce, your self-identity, or the way you see yourself, changes. As a married person, you defined yourself as a couple. Divorce means you are no longer on the same team. You have gone from being a wife or a husband to a single woman or a single man who has lost a large part of your identity.
The way you define yourself and the way society defines you is changed. Many people find that as they work on this need, they ultimately discover some positive aspects of their changed identity.
- With the Eyes Shut.
- Running through the Forest.
- Putting a Name to It.
When your relationship has ended, you may realize how much of yourself you may have disowned, given away or invested in your spouse or in the relationship itself. Think of it this way: Divorce reintroduces you to yourself. Search for meaning When you experience a divorce, you naturally question the meaning and purpose of life. You will probably take 67 The Wilderness of Divorce a good, hard look at where you see yourself now and in the future. You may question your philosophy of life and explore religious and spiritual values as you work on this need. You will instinctively revisit your account of your marriage and divorce.
But I have found it cannot be hurried. Your new life vision must come in its own time and you must allow it to unfold. As you search for meaning and purpose, you are ready to make short- and long-term goals. What is important to you? Do you eventually want another love relationship? What are your financial needs and how do you accomplish them? Are you becoming the person you want to be? Creating new life goals is part of your search for meaning and purpose.
Let others help you—now and always The quality and quantity of understanding support you get during your divorce experience will have a major influence 68 Touchstone Six - Understand the Six Needs of Divorce Transition on your capacity to integrate this major transition into your life. You cannot—nor should you try to—go through this alone and in isolation. People who see your experience as something that should be quickly overcome instead of experienced will not help you integrate your divorce into your life. To be truly helpful, the people in your support system must recognize and appreciate the impact the divorce has had on you.
They must understand that in order to eventually go forward in life, you must be allowed—even encouraged—to mourn your lost relationship. The beauty of right now As you actively work on these six needs, you will become open to the beauty that surrounds you right now. You can be self-compassionate and experience the capacity for joy in your life. Now you can have gratitude that you entered 69 The Wilderness of Divorce into the wilderness of your divorce experience.
The patient has to learn a new routine and is given permission to stay off her feet for a while. Perhaps one of the most important special needs right now is to be compassionate with yourself—to honor this season of tenderness in your life. Over many years of walking with people in the wilderness of divorce, I have discovered that most of us are hard on ourselves during this time in our lives.
And we often take care of ourselves last. But good self-care is essential to your survival. Nurturing yourself in five important realms When we have special needs, one of our most important needs is to nurture ourselves in five important areas: The physical realm Divorce ranks among the most stressful life events you can experience.
Among the most common physical responses to the stress that accompanies divorce are troubles with sleeping and low energy. During this journey you are on, your body needs more rest than usual. Muscle aches and pains, shortness of breath, feelings of emptiness in your stomach, tightness in your throat or chest, digestive problems, sensitivity to noise, heart palpitations, queasiness, nausea, headaches, increased allergies, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, agitation, and generalized tension—these are all ways your body may react to your divorce.
The quality of your life ahead depends on how you take care of your body today. Divorce brings an awareness of the reality that you are individually responsible for all aspects of your life, especially your health and well-being. The emotional realm We explored in Touchstone Four a multitude of emotions that are often part of the divorce journey. These emotions reflect that you often have special needs that require support from both outside yourself and inside yourself. Becoming familiar with the terrain of these emotions can and will help you integrate the divorce transition into your life.
The important thing to remember is that we honor our emotions when we give attention to them. The cognitive realm Your mind has the intellectual ability to think, absorb information, make decisions and reason logically. Just as your body and emotions let you know you have special needs, your mind does too. Essentially, your mind is in a state of disorientation and confusion. Your mind needs time to catch up with what you are experiencing. The social realm Naturally, divorce can sometimes leave you feeling disconnected from the outside world.
Having a support system of friends and family you can count on is vital. When you reach out and connect with friends and family, you are beginning to reconnect. Some people withdraw into their 76 Touchstone Seven - Nurture Yourself own small world and end up grieving the divorce, but not mourning.
The spiritual realm I realize that the word spiritual has many different meanings to different people. For our purposes here, I think of spirituality as the collection of beliefs that make sense of our existence. Your spiritual encounter with divorce often invites new questions about your past, your present, and your future.
You naturally go on a search to understand your lost relationship and may discover a perspective that places life in the context of something bigger than your day-to-day existence. Nurturing a spiritual life invites you to connect with nature and the people around you. Your heart opens and your life takes on renewed meaning and purpose. You are filled with compassion for other people, particularly those who have walked the path of divorce.
You become kinder, more gentle, and more forgiving of others as well as yourself. So be good to yourself. Finding others who will be good to you is also critically important. Carefully selected friends and family members can often form the core of your support system. Reach out to others. Look for family and friends who can provide you non-judgmental support. Be careful not to express what you are going through to anyone and everyone all the time, however.
If you find yourself talking with anyone and everyone about your divorce and seeking their support, I encourage you to see a professional counselor who can help you sort out what you are experiencing. One third of the people in your life will turn out to be neutral in response to your divorce experience. They will neither help nor hinder you in your journey. Another third of the people in your life will turn out to be harmful to you in your efforts to integrate the divorce into your life.
While they are usually not setting out to intentionally harm you, they will judge you, give you unsolicited advice, minimize your experience, or, in general, just try to pull you off your path to eventual healing. The final third of people in your life will turn out to be truly supportive helpers.
They will demonstrate a desire to understand you and the experience you are going through. They will be willing to be involved in your pain without feeling the need to take it away from you. They will believe in your capacity to integrate this divorce into your life and eventually go on to live a life of meaning and purpose.
They will be your confidants and momentum-givers on your journey. How others can help you: Effective helpers will help you: Someone who companions you is someone who is willing and able to affirm your pain and suffering. They are able to sit with you and the feelings that surface as you walk through the wilderness. Encounter your feelings related to the divorce transition. These are people who understand the need for you to tell your account of your marriage and divorce. They ask you about your story and provide a safe place for you to openly express your many thoughts and feelings.
These are people around you who help you sustain hope, even when you are in the middle of the wilderness of your divorce. They can be present to you and affirm your goodness, while all the time helping you trust in yourself that you can and will heal. Coming together and sharing the common bond of experience can be invaluable in helping you heal.
Knowing you are not alone when you feel like you are going crazy provides support and comfort. In these groups, each person can talk about his or her experience in a non-threatening, safe atmosphere. Members offer each other support based on real life experience. Group members are usually very patient with you, and since they are not friends or family, can often have some outside perspective that is helpful to you.
Each of you has a story to tell. You also help each other build divine momentum toward healing. Divorce support groups are available in many communities. They vary tremendously in their formats open versus closed , durations, and content. If you are a candidate for one of these groups, do your research and find one that best meets your needs. While groups can be helpful, they are not for everyone. If in doubt, find a trusted confidant or counselor who can help you explore if this kind of experience might be of help to you. To find a support group in your area, call your local mental health agency.
Also, clergy, physicians, and attorneys will sometimes know about groups in your area. The good news is that like the millions who have gone before you, you can and will find your way out. But just as with any significant experience in your life, your divorce will always be a part of who you are and it will influence who you will become in the future. You may be coming to understand one of the fundamental truths of the encounter with divorce transition: With integration comes an ability to fully acknowledge the end of your marriage, feeling and acting like a single person with a future of your own design, a renewed sense of energy and confidence, and a capacity to become re-involved in the activities of life.
You will find that as you embrace this process of integration, the upheaval that comes with the wilderness 89 The Wilderness of Divorce will give rise to a new sense of meaning and purpose. Hope for a continued life will emerge as you are able to make commitments to your future. You can create an attitude and discover a desire to live a full life filled with gratitude and peace.
Signs of integration How do you know if you are moving toward integrating your divorce into your life? As you move toward integration, you will begin to notice the following: You will have thoughts of your former spouse, but you will not be preoccupied by these thoughts. Yet we do come to realize, over the course of months, that we have come a long way. We have taken some important steps toward integration. Usually there is not one great moment of arrival, but instead subtle changes and small advancements.
It helps to have gratitude for even very small steps forward. If you mustered the energy to meet your friend for lunch, be grateful. Of course, you will take some steps backward from time to time, but that is to be expected. Keep believing in yourself. Set your intention to integrate this divorce into your life journey and have hope that you can and will go on to have renewed meaning and purpose in our life. When you leave the wilderness of your experience, you are simply not the same person as you were when you entered it. You have been through so much.
How could you be the same? I am a different person. You have likely grown in your wisdom, in your understanding, in your compassion. Let me assure you that this book is not about advocating divorce as a means to growth, even though growth is often the result.
The Wilderness of Divorce: Finding Your Way (Transcending Divorce)
It is about helping you do your mourning of lost dreams and helping you move toward a new, satisfying and meaningful life. Divorce often frees good people from marriages that have been filled with unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Many people blossom in this new period of rediscovery of self. Yes, divorce is a transition that teaches us more than we may have imagined possible.
And, most of us who make it through this wilderness experience see ourselves as true survivors. We know something about life now that we may not have before. We can get more out of it. And, perhaps even more important, we discover how to give more, too! Living life with meaning is the very opposite of just going through the motions of living.
Giving attention to your divorce experience has a way of transforming your assumptions, values and priorities. When you experience integration, you have more energy and enthusiasm for living. Now you can engage fully in life. Instead of letting life just happen to you, now you understand more, and your enhanced awareness unleashes energy to create your own destiny.
Now you are not just existing, you are living abundantly. You are able to feel a full range of emotions, from sadness, protest, and anxiety to love, joy and passion. You become more authentic and alive. You become a person you respect and value. Experiencing self-love allows you to receive the love you now open your heart to. You make yourself available and emanate a desire to connect deeply and intimately to those around you.
You may well discover an inner calling that invites you to follow your dreams. What have you always wanted to do but never did? What have you always told yourself was impossible? All that seemed impossible is now possible. By developing yourself and embracing your gifts, you feel fulfilled and one with the world around you.
As you project a spiritual optimism into the world, you experience true satisfaction in living your life. Living the truth is itself a journey into self-reflection and discovery. Surrender yourself to the truth, for to live your life in truth is to live in freedom. The heart of faith is believing you are not alone.
And now you realize you are not alone. You can see that life is a sacred journey and come to trust in the goodness that surrounds you. As you emerge from the wilderness of your grief, you go above and beyond the life you have lived before and achieve a deeper understanding of the meaning and purpose of your life. You find self-fulfillment and realize your true potential. May you turn your face to the radiance of joy. May you live in the continued awareness that you are being cradled in love by a caring presence that never deserts you.
May you keep your heart open wide and be receptive to what life brings you, both happy and sad. And, in doing so, may you create a pathway to living your life fully and on purpose until you die. Blessings to you as you continue your life journey toward wholeness. May your divine spark shine brightly as you share your gifts with the universe. I hope we meet one day. The following list is intended to empower you to heal and decide how others can and cannot help. This is not to discourage you from reaching out to others for help, but rather to assist you in distinguishing useful responses from hurtful ones.
You have the right to experience your own unique divorce journey. While you will discover some commonalities with other people going through divorce, no one will have the exact experience you do. You have the right to talk about your divorce experience. Talking about this major life transition will help you integrate it into your life. Be selective, but do find The Wilderness of Divorce people who are able and willing to listen to you as you move from head understanding to heart understanding of what you are experiencing.
You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions. It is important to befriend whatever feelings you are experiencing. Confusion, disorganization, fear, guilt, regret, sadness and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel are a part of your divorce transition. Find listeners who will accept your feelings without condition.
You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. The divorce experience naturally leaves you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body, mind and heart are telling you. This can be frightening, but it is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out. You have the right to make use of ceremony. A divorce ceremony does more than acknowledge the end of your marriage. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. Look for compassionate resources and people to help you plan and carry out a ceremony to mark your major life change.
You have the right to embrace your spirituality. If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious or spiritual beliefs. You have the right to search for meaning. Where did things go wrong? Will life be worth living again? Just remember—those who do not question do not find. You have the right to seek and accept support during and after your divorce.
You cannot—nor should you try to—go through this time of major change alone. Remember, you need not walk alone. Look for a compassionate companion to accompany you on this difficult journey. You have the right to be transformed by your divorce. Transformation means an entire change in form. You are indeed different now. You have likely grown in your wisdom, in your understanding, and in your compassion.
As you integrate your divorce into your life, you will feel gratitude for your life. Alan Wolfelt is known across North America for his compassionate messages about healing in grief. He is committed to helping people mourn well so they can go on to live well and love well. Wolfelt has responded with this compassionate new guide. When it comes to grief and loss, divorce is one of the most heartbreaking for many people.
Related Transcending Divorce: A Guide for Personal Growth and Transformation
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